Coronavirus: Gaming Companies Will Stop Advertising During Lockdown

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Gaming companies have agreed to stop all television and radio advertising for games and products during the virus lockdown.

The Betting and Gaming Council said companies have voluntarily agreed to remove all advertising for at least six weeks.

The move comes amid criticism that the industry is exploiting people trapped at home.

Television and radio slots will be replaced by safer gaming messages, donated to charities or removed from broadcasting where contracts allow.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to protect potentially at-risk customers during this lockout period and beyond. “

“I now hope that other big game operators like the National Lottery follow our example,” said Michael Dugher, managing director of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC).

BGC, which represents betting shops, online betting and gaming, bingo and casinos, said the move would remove half of the product advertising from television and radio.

He added that all operators “will seek to implement this change as soon as possible but no later than Thursday, May 7”.

Concerns about the game during locking have increased. Earlier this month, a multi-stakeholder group of more than 20 MPs signed a letter calling for restrictions, including a moratorium on advertising.

Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic, also warned that the upheaval and uncertainty that people face means that “now more than ever … a moral code is required of the gaming industry” .

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The move came after a separate announcement that baliff visits would be banned until the lockout ends.

The 2020 Control of Goods and Certification of Law Enforcement (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations were tabled in Parliament late Friday and came into effect immediately.

They prevent visits from bailiffs during the period when restrictions on coronaviruses are in place.

Other actions of the bailiff, such as calling debtors, are not included in the ban.

This has led to persistent concerns about the impact of bailiffs’ contacts on vulnerable people during the epidemic.

“The foreclosure has decimated the income of many people,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

“To avoid the back taxes of councils forcing people into debt, the government must consider new measures. “

Debt relief

A priority is to prevent people from becoming responsible for the entire year’s bill after a missed payment, say the charities.

They also asked the government to help local authorities provide paid leave for people experiencing difficulties because of Covid-19.

“If the government does not act on the municipal tax, we risk a wave of visits by judicial officers to recover the arrears that result after the end of this crisis,” said Joanna Elson, general manager of the Money Advice Trust .

She called for three-month payment suspensions and out-of-date rule changes that could push more people into debt.

The next vital step

Statutory regulation of the bailiffs sector is the “next vital step” that the Department of Justice should take, said Phil Andrew, general manager of StepChange Debt Charity.

“While the debt enforcement system cannot be invoked to prevent inappropriate action during the emergency period without legislation, it also cannot be invoked to function according to high standards of practice without a formal long-term regulatory system , ” he said.

He said the new laws would give more confidence that debt enforcement will be handled more appropriately in the future, “by correcting the appalling shortcomings that have caused such damage and prejudice to vulnerable people in the past “

The indebted charities have been calling for independent regulation of bailiffs for three years, after much evidence has shown that the reforms introduced in 2014 had not been effective.

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